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New details of Barr’s far-reaching probe into ‘spying’ on Trump 2016 campaign

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WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Monday offered new insight into what it called a “broad” and “multifaceted” review of the origins of the Russia investigation, and sought to assure lawmakers that the probe ordered by President Donald Trump would work to protect sensitive intelligence at the heart of it.

In a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said the investigation — referred to throughout as a “review” — would evaluate whether the counterintelligence investigation launched in 2016 into potential contacts between foreign entities and individuals associated with Donald Trump’s campaign “complied with applicable policies and laws.”

“There remain open questions relating to the origins of this counterintelligence investigation and the U.S. and foreign intelligence activities that took place prior to and during that investigation. The purpose of the Review is to more fully understand the efficacy and propriety of those steps and to answer, to the satisfaction of the Attorney General, those open questions,” Boyd wrote.

DOJ announced in May that Attorney Gen. William Barr had assigned John Durham, the U.S. attorney for the District of Connecticut, to oversee a review long called for by Trump into whether the Russia probe, launched in the heat of the presidential campaign, was influenced by politics and whether established protocols were followed involving the surveillance of Trump campaign officials.

Barr sparked controversy in April when he told a Senate panel that “spying did occur” during the campaign, and that there was a “failure among a group of leaders at the upper echelons” of the intelligence community.

“I’m not suggesting that those rules were violated, but I think it’s important to look at that. I’m not talking about the FBI necessarily, but intelligence agencies more broadly,” Barr said at the time.

Trump issued a memorandum May 24 giving Barr broad authority to declassify information as part of the review. In the letter Monday, Boyd said that Barr had directed Durham and his team “to work closely with the intelligence community to ensure that national security equities of the U.S. and its foreign intelligence partners are adequately protected.”

The review will primarily be conducted in the Washington area, Boyd added, even as Durham will continue to serve in his current post.

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Republican groups sue California over expanded mail-in voting

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The Republican National Committee and other GOP groups filed a lawsuit against California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday, arguing a move to expand mail-in voting during the pandemic is illegal.

The suit, filed in federal court in the state’s eastern district, also names the California Republican Party and the National Republican Congressional Committee as plaintiffs.

In a tweet announcing the suit, national committee chair Ronna McDaniel called Newsom’s executive order “radical” and a “recipe for disaster that would create more opportunities for fraud.”

His May 8 order requires election officials in each of the state’s 58 counties to send mail-in ballots to all registered voters.

“No Californian should be forced to risk their health in order to exercise their right to vote,” Newsom said.

The suit comes as Republicans in other states have echoed an assertion from President Donald Trump that mail ballots are “dangerous” and “fraudulent.”

Experts who study the issue have found no evidence that voter fraud is a widespread problem in the United States.

In a separate lawsuit in Texas filed last month, a federal judge ruled last week that state Attorney General Ken Paxton had offered no evidence when he made the same claim in an effort stop the Texas Democratic Party and individual voters from expanding mail-in voting in that state.

“The court finds the Grim Reaper’s scepter of pandemic of disease and death is far more serious than an unsupported fear of voter fraud,” the judge, Fred Biery, wrote.

Biery ruled in favor of the local Democratic Party, though that order was put on hold after the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to review the case.



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Brexit betrayal: Liz Truss under fire in latest move to secure US trade deal

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LIZ TRUSS, the International Trade Secretary, has come under fire after she was accused of giving way on key aspects of environmental and animal rights guidelines to reach a trade deal with the US.

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How Dominic Cummings was saved by the government using THESE defences

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DOMINIC CUMMINGS avoided being ousted as the Prime Minister’s top advisor after he faced calls to resign this weekend for flouting lockdown rules.

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